EXEGESIS - CANTICLES.
"All burning is that unguent of grace whereby the Virgin brought forth, and the Lord Jesus assumed the Sacrament of the Incarnation."*
"Take then from this pot of the Moabitess + -- the virginity of Mary -- of the unguent of heavenly grace; nor fear lest it fail. Since when poured out, it even overflows the more. For its odour hath gone forth over the whole earth, as it is written. Thy name is as oil poured out; therefore young maidens have loved thee. Let that same unguent descend into the inmost depths and recesses of your souls, wherewith holy Mary was redolent, not of odours of (earthly) delights, but of the breathings of divine grace."++
"I am black, but beautiful, O ye daughters of Jerusalem." -- v. 4.
"The soul of John, as he reclined on the breast of Jesus, answered, I am black... black by sin, beautiful by grace. His flesh also said... I am black, because I have sinned: beautiful, because now Christ loves me: for whereas He banished me from Him in Eve, He hath taken me to Himself again through the Virgin, He hath raised me up through Mary."**
"I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valleys." -- ii. 1.
"Who is this flower of sweet odour, but He who spake this, and of whom was written in Isaias: And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root.|| The Jewish nation is the root, Mary the rod, and Christ is Mary's flower. Hence, when He shines forth on our earth, and breathes His fragrance in the field of the soul, or flowers in the Church, we have fear neither of cold nor storm, but await the day of judgment."***
"The Virgin is that spotless lily, which brought forth Christ, the fadeless rose."+++
"Well too is this flower the Church, since she announces the fruit, even the Lord Jesus Christ, of whom was said to Mary, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb."|||
"As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters." -- v. 2.
"Mary, a Virgin included in woman's sex, but free from woman's sin; a Virgin innocent, without spot, free from all fault, inviolate, undefiled, holy in soul and body, as a lily budding in the midst of thorns, unlearned in the evils of Eve."++++
+ "It is clear that Mary was descended from a mother of the nation of the Moabites. For Boaz begat Obed of Ruth, certainly a Moabitess; and Obed begat Jesse, and Jesse begat King David (Matt. i. 5), of whose seed was born Joseph, to whom was espoused the Virgin Mary -- also of the same tribe, for otherwise was not allowed -- who was the Mother of Jesus, who is called Christ." S. Gaudentius, Serm. ix. De Evang. Lectione primus. P.L. Tom. 20, p. 896.